Jump to main content

Santa Barbara Hikes

Manzana Schoolhouse Description

Manzana Schoolhouse and Dabney Cabin

Begin the hike at the sign marking the trail just across the river. It is best to cross the river just below the road, because the road gets slick with moss.

The trail parallels the river, moving up the side of the hill.

At about 1 and 1/4 miles you reach a small, primitive camp called Potrero camp. Cross the creek.

There is a trail junction here just after crossing the creek with Portrero Trail and Hurricane Deck to the right.

The trail stays in the river bed and requires many creek crossings. This may be pleasant in hot months. Continue straight at the junction and follow the trail as it crisscrosses the creek bed. You may need to search for the trail at some creek crossings. Look for foot prints, rock cairns or other signs. If you reach dead ends, backtrack and see if you can find another way.

At approximately 3 miles, you may notice Coldwater Camp to your right in a clearing. There is a campsite under a large oak tree. Both Potrero Camp and Coldwater Camp make for nice backpacking trips for beginners.

At about 4 miles, there is a large meadow to your right with a faint trail. Horseshoe camp is at the end of the horseshoe-shaped meadow, around the hill. There is a nice swimming hole here. Stay straight to continue on the trail.

At about 6 miles you come to a large meadow for cattle grazing. Your trail has become a dirt road. There is a private in-holding here. You may see people driving along the road. Just past the meadow, stay straight along the stream. Don't take the left fork in the road.

At just under 6.5 miles there is some old, rusty farm equipment in the field. It may not be visible if the grass is high. At 6.5 miles there is another junction with a dirt road. Stay to the right and cross the creek.

After a few more crossings (are you getting tired of crossing the creek?) you reach Dabney Cabin at the 7 mile mark. You can use the outhouse up the hill behind the cabin. There is a trail mileage sign here that makes you wonder. Frankly, those milage signs are about as accurate as the mileage markers on this description.

To reach the schoolhouse, continue along the same trail/road for another 1.5 miles. This makes a good backpacking destination. The schoolhouse is at the junction of the Manzana River and the Sisquoc river.

Total distance: Schoolhouse: 17 miles round trip. Cabin: 14 miles round trip.